This interesting surname is the Scottish form of the Irish McGuinness, itself an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Aonghuis" composed of the elements "mac" meaning son of plus "Aonghuis" the male given name Angus, meaning "unique choice". Its first known bearer was Aonghus Turimleach in the 3rd Century B.C.. He was, it is said, one of the three brothers from Ireland who invaded and ruled Scotland, bequeathing his name to the country and to its famous black cattle. The name also continued in Ireland; a King Aonghus of Munster gave St.Patrick half of his family of twenty-four children, to become monks and nuns, literally six of one and half a dozen of the other. The surname is first recorded in the early 16th Century, (see below). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including McGinnis, McEnnesse, McEnnis, McInch, Maguinness, Maginnis, etc.. John M'Kynnes witnessed an instrument of sasine in 1530. On October 28th 1764, the marriage of Thomas McInnes and Archewias Lorimer took place at Edinburgh Parish Church, Midlothian, and their daughter Mary McInnes, was christened in the same place on October 29th 1765. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donald McKynes, a tenant, which was dated 1514, in the Rental Book of Cupar-Angus, during the reign of King James V of Scotland, 1513 - 1542. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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